By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor

 BUSINESSES in Leipzig support the city’s cultural offer – because they say that’s the way to build a thriving location, link with employees and develop what the Germans term “gemeinschaft”.

The word translates roughly as “society” or “community” but is more specifically a reference to working together for everyone’s benefit.

That’s why about 100 of the city’s businesses have banded together to support the arts and music and even set up a tennis tournament that will this year feature on the main professional tour and has drawn the support of German tennis great Steffi Graf.

Dr Mathias Reuschel is an engineer and executive director of S&P Gruppe, a leading architectural and engineering firm in headquartered in Leipzig.

He works alongside his architect son, Felix Reuschel, on plans to revamp the city’s basic Communist-era buildings, turning them into attractive, modern designs by incorporating new-built elements into re-vamped blocks.

But outside the core business, the pair are part of a group of enlightened business figures who work in organisations with the aim of promoting Leipzig and ensuring it has the quality of life necessary to attract top talent, and thus grow and thrive.

Dr Reuschel is involved in organising festivities to mark 2015 as the 1,000th anniversary of Leipzig, aiming to bring visitors from across the world.

He is president of Gemeinsam fur Leipzig, and vice president of Unternehmerverband Sachsen, important associations for the promotion of SME’s in the region.

He describes them as “business clubs”, the former of 100 companies, working together for the city and supporting its cultural offer, such as music festivals.

“What is special is they come together for a specific reason: to support the city,” he said.

“Sport and culture can’t be supported by politics alone, you need companies.”

He said this is also a way of linking firms with their employees, living up to the gemeinschaft ideal.

“The company is a kind of family,” he said.

Dr Reuschel is also involved with HTWK, the city’s technical and science university, which specialises in design and construction.

And he is president of Leipziger Tennisclub, which is bringing the world’s top players to East Germany.

“It started as an initiative to support young tennis players,” he said. “Steffi Graf once won a tournament here, liked the city and decided to support it.

“But the problem was there was no on-going tournament. So we started one.

“It’s developed over five years. This year we have the first tournament where players can earn world ranking points.

“Next year is the 1,000th anniversary of Leipzig and we hope Steffi will come here.

“And it’s not just about professionals, but there will be a children’s tournament, and one for amateurs, for the university and a corporate event, and a Leipzig open.”

Meanwhile, S&P Gruppe is an example of the growing and go-ahead companies operating in Leipzig.

The firm, which celebrated 20 years in 2011, employs 300 engineers and architects, and is expanding into IT and software for design and construction, particularly checking existing structures for safety.

“The business is changing,” Dr Reuschel said. “We started with re-constructions, now we are mostly doing new builds.

“And it’s not only about building flats, but offices, hospitals, theatres, museums, everything. The cities in East Germany are growing.

“Leipzig is permanently growing – and it’s getting more beautiful.”

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(Publicity generated by Dorcas Media)

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